Pussy Riot Fights for “Body Autonomy” on Debut Mixtape ‘Matriarchy Now’

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

Preceding the 10-year anniversary of their Aug. 17, 2012 conviction of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” after staging a performance in a church protesting President Vladimir Putin, which sent them to jail for two years, Russian protest collective Pussy Riot is releasing their debut mixtape Matriarchy Now (Neon Gold Records) on Aug. 5. The group also released the first of seven tracks off the mixtape, “Plastic,” featuring rapper and producer ILOVEMAKONNEN and a video directed by Haley Bowman.

Matriarchy Now features collaborations with Swedish artist Tove Lo, who also executive produced the project, along with Salem Ilese, Big Freedia, Phoebe Ryan, Kito, Hudson Mohawke, Slayyyter, and more, and follows Pussy Riot’s latest political action stance on June 9 when the group hung a 45-foot “Matriarchy Now” banner from the Texas State Capitol following the Supreme Court overturn of Roe v. Wade.

Pussy Riot’s Nadya Tolokonnikova recently created LegalAbortion.ETH, web3 donation platform benefitting organizations protecting reproductive rights and has helped raise more than $200,000 for non-profits, including the center for Reproductive Rights and Planned Parenthood. In 2019, Tolokonnikova also directed the video “Hangerz,” addressing the impact of fundamentalist abortion bans on female reproductive rights.

‘Matriarchy Now’ Mixtape

Shortly after the Feb. 24 Russian invasion of Ukraine, Tolokonnikova used a Pussy Riot NFT to help raise $7M via UkraineDAO to aid Ukrainian efforts. Tolokonnikova originally co-founded UnicornDAO, to help redistribute wealth and create equality for women-identified and LGBTQ+ through crypto/web3 projects.

In the past several years, the group released several songs protesting everything from government to policing, female equality, and more. “Make America Great Again” was shot before Trump was elected president, followed by the female-empowered “Riot” in 2020. “Rage” was later released in 2021 amid a surge of protests in Russia over the jailing of opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

Other recent musical protests include the police brutality projects “Police State”, featuring Chloe Sevigny in the video, and “1312”, which stands for “ACAB (all cops are bastards).” “НОЖ” / “KNIFE” is a project against domestic violence, which was released alongside Pussy Riot’s “STOP DOMESTIC VIOLENCE” campaign.

Pussy Riot’s Nadya Tolokonnikova

Upon their release from prison on Dec. 23, 2013, Tolokonnikova and Pussy Riot partner Masha Alekhina founded MEDIAZONA, an independent publication focused on Russian law enforcement, the prison system, and courts.

On Matriarchy Now, Pussy Riot are clearly not finished fighting for female reproductive rights and equality.

“Body autonomy is a pillar of modern civilization,” said Pussy Riot in their manifesto. “There’s no human rights as we know them without body autonomy taken as an axiom. People with wombs demand body autonomy. We demand our rights, we don’t ask for it. Don‘t like abortions? Don’t make them. Oh yes, and did you know? Vasectomy prevents abortions.”

Matriarchy Now track list:
1 – “Princess Charming” (w/ Salem Ilese)
2 – “Punish”
3 – “Plastic” (w/ ILOVEMAKONNEN)
4 – “Horny” (w/ Phoebe Ryan)
5 – “Sugarmommy” (w/ mazie)
6 – “Hatefuck” (w/ Slayyyter)
7 – “Poof Bitch” (w/ Big Freedia)

Photos: Gold Atlas

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